Healthcare outreach

Student missionary gains medical ministry skills in the Philippines

Airy Tran, senior health science major, spent most of her childhood living in Vietnam and witnessed firsthand her parents’ dedication to community service in areas of need. When she moved to the United States during eighth grade, Tran’s awareness of global disparities was heightened, fueling her growing passion for helping those in need. 

Now a university student, Tran already has a wide experience of service under her belt. Her latest post as a medical student missionary in the Philippines has given her the chance to meet critical needs in underserved communities. Tran remembers that her initial feelings after deciding to serve overseas for a year were a mix of nervousness and excitement. She was rewarded not only with new medical skills during her student missionary year, but with cross-language communication skills, leadership skills, and the ability to adapt to a new culture. 

Tran’s day to day life in the Philippines involved eight-hour work health clinic shifts across departments including radiology, pharmacy, laboratory, dental, and emergency. Between her regularly scheduled duties, Tran had the opportunity to participate in two community service initiatives called the Blood Pressure Project and the Prevention Health Program. During the programs, clinic staff members provided free vital signs checks, education on lifestyle modifications, health brochures, and even home visitations. “Our goal was to reach underserved areas and encourage people to take charge of their health,” said Tran.

The mission experience was not without challenges: a language barrier, a strong loyalty to traditional healing methods, and a packed schedule in both the church and the clinic tested Tran’s resilience. Despite the challenges, Tran said that she was filled with gratitude to be able to make a tangible difference and build relationships with patients and coworkers.

Spending a year in the Philippines had a large impact on Tran’s spiritual life. “Encountering diverse cultural perspectives and witnessing the resilience and faith of the communities I served has expanded my worldview and deepened my appreciation for the universality of spiritual values,” Tran said. “Overall, my student missionary service has been a transformative experience that has strengthened my faith, deepened my spiritual connections, and inspired me to continue growing and serving in meaningful ways.” 

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Posted May 15, 2024

Airy Tran